Back in March I described problems compiling and installing new applications onto Linux and suggested that until this problem is solved, Linux will not take over the desktop; see On Linux. But in the last few weeks a colleague has introduced me to Ubuntu. It's a lovely distribution which feels clean, stable and nicely integrated. However, the real revelation of Ubuntu is the online package system, which means that finding and installing new applications is unbelievably straightforward. Of course this system doesn't work for any Linux application at all, just the ones (actually many) that have been placed in the Ubuntu package server, but it's clearly the way to go.
I strongly recommend Ubuntu, and commend the good people supporting this distribution who really do appear to live up to the ideals implied by the word "Ubuntu".